Gran Paradiso pool

Pool at Gran Paradiso.

GRAN PARADISO — The community is in the middle of a two-month clothing drive to help those in need.

It is the second time Gran Paradiso has launched a clothing drive for Jesus Loves You Ministries out of Murdock.

“Jesus Loves You Ministry does such wonderful work,” Gran Paradiso resident Louise Elleo said Tuesday. “These people are so appreciative and in need — and that’s why I chose that.”

Elleo said the goal is 100 large bags of clothing — and she already has 60 due to the neighborhood donations. She credited Gran Paradiso Activity Director Loraine Welch with a lot of help in the effort.

“She’s been excellent,” Elleo said.

Ashley Carmichael, executive director with Jesus Loves You, said the ministry appreciates the effort.

“It’s huge for us. Gran Paradiso — specifically — just the quantity they donate is huge for us,” Carmichael said.

Jesus Loves You Ministries works with homeless people. Along with clothing, it provides showers and helps feed, assist with case management and provide Bible studies for those interested.

Carmichael said it’s expanded its reach through the years — assisting folks from Port Charlotte to North Port to Englewood now. The clothing drive helps many people.

“We’re just so grateful. Louise, who is coordinated it, has just been wonderful. ... it has just been a huge thing — a huge benefit,” Carmichael said.

A drop-off point is in the Gran Paradiso main clubhouse and will be there until Jan. 1, Elleo said.

Whatever clothes that are donated that they can’t use, they use in its thrift store — which in turn helps their outreach efforts.

The first clothing drive took place after season — this time, it’s going on in the middle of it and that has helped the cause. Welch encouraged doing it during the surge of population for the area — thus, November and December.

“It’s been awesome,” Elleo said. “I go every day and it’s just the bags and bags.”

The ministry needs everything from socks to heavy clothing for winter months.

Aside from the clothing drive, Jesus Loves You also takes in disposable razors and body wash for its showers, tents and batteries that homeless people use. Between Florida weather and raccoons, tents don’t last long in the state.

But the clothing drive is one way for a community to help.

“It’s such a wonderful experience for our neighborhood to give back,” Elleo said. “It’s been honestly rewarding for me. I put the call out to people and they listened.”


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